I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Give us this day

Waking up to a lovely ice covered world this morning, I sighed and took the dog out while taking micro steps across the treacherous terrain that only yesterday was an innocent deck. This day was not starting out well I thought. Waiting until later in the morning to go to work proved to be a good idea though as the drive in was not fatal. OK so the day wasn't going to be a total loss after all.

Winter is once again proving to be a disgusting, worthless season in the Mid-A. Thank god the oven works and I didn't put both bread machines in the storage unit. A mess in the kitchen always makes me feel better, so here is another one of my not-quite-ready-for-artisan bread recipes using the bread machine for prep.

I include dried herbs and garlic here more just for scenting, to make the house smell terrific while the bread is baking, but they can certainly be increased (or replaced with fresh) for a more pronounced 'herb bread' effect. The recipe would also work using a food processor or just a couple of good strong hands for the first kneading/rise.

The potato flour helps keep the bread fresher longer, and the ascorbic acid and diastatic malt help with the rise. If you don't have these ingredients on hand, no worries, you should still get a very nice loaf. I also use the cold oven method to start the baking, as per this recipe, but if you want a more crackly crust you can preheat the oven first.

Daily Bread

1¼ - 1½ cups water (I used 1½ cups for the most recent loaf)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1¾ cups white whole wheat flour
1 ¾ cups bread flour
2 Tbs. vital wheat gluten
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. potato flour (not starch)
1½ tsp. salt
½ - 1 tsp. mixed herbs, such as fines herbes
¼ - ½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. diastatic malt powder
¼ tsp. ascorbic acid
1¾ tsp. SAF instant yeast, or 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast

Place water and oil in bread machine. Add dry ingredients next in the order listed, and mix together a bit. Set bread machine to dough setting and start (add a bit more water or flour as necessary, if required for dough to form a good ball).

When the first rise is complete, remove dough from machine, deflate, and knead briefly to shape into an oval for a country style loaf, or fit into a bread pan for a sandwich style loaf. Slash the top a couple of times, cover loosely, and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1 - 1 ½ hours. I let mine rise in the unheated oven or the microwave with the door slightly ajar so that the light stays on, and provides a bit of warmth.

Place in a cold oven and set to 350°F. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden and done. Allow to cool before slicing.

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